[Press Release] What Microsoft Got Wrong In Remote Work Study


Thu., Sep. 16, 2021

Jonathan Lockwood


What Microsoft Got Wrong In Remote Work Study

Remote work expert Chris Dyer says Microsoft’s remote work study highlights flawed considerations of remote work and productivity

LOS ANGELES—Microsoft issued a study critical of remote work painting a picture that remote work is bad for communication and productivity. Remote work expert PeopleG2 CEO Chris Dyer, author of Remote Work and company culture consultant, says the study highlights flawed considerations of remote work. The study was conducted from December 2019 to June 2020, hardly a thorough study of remote work, whether amid the pandemic or not. 


“More time with your team means higher satisfaction, that should not be perceived as a loss for companies,” said Dyer. “Yes, workers need to create new ways to cross-pollinate ideas, but employees correlate happiness with the company to happiness on their team.”

“Because remote and hybrid work are likely to persist even after the pandemic has ended, it is incredibly important to understand how these policies affect the ways that people collaborate with one another,” Microsoft’s study said.

“Communication levels as a single metric is also missing the full picture,” added Dyer. “Just because ‘communication’ occurred before remote work doesn’t mean it was effective, memorable or usable. Less communication traffic across remote work channels could mean communication cycles were more effective.”


“In terms of workers being siloed, of course remote workers spent less time with other workers outside their team. This study was done when we were in the initial spike of the Covid-19 pandemic,” added Dyer. “Opportunity to move across teams will increase as we move forward, and remote work done well amplifies opportunities overall for productivity.”


ZDNet explains that Microsoft’s principal takeaway is that, regardless of how remote and in-office work is managed, the resulting change in communication could drag a company’s innovation and make departmental teams more siloed. The study, conducted by analyzing 61,100 workers, found that Microsoft’s teams became more siloed and spent less time communicating with those outside of their immediate work teams. Dyer says companies discovering negative outcomes ‘from remote work’ are in fact discovering failed remote work design and implementation. 


“The bottom line is that managers need new training, like the kind I give, on how to design their future to ensure better outcomes,” concluded Dyer. “The problems people have with remote work, are problems with remote work poorly executed and supported. The future of work is flexible, and it doesn’t have to be like pulling teeth or cause brain damage to get there, it takes conscious leadership and vision.”


The full Microsoft remote work study can be viewed here. Dyer’s latest eBook “5 Secrets of Thriving as a Remote Team” can be viewed here.


Chris Dyer is the founder and CEO of PeopleG2, where he manages 30 full-time remote employees and 3,000 contractors. PeopleG2 is routinely ranked one of the best places to work and has been listed as one of Inc.’s 5000 Fastest Growing Companies. Having made the transition to remote during the recession in 2009 with stunning success, Dyer is now a world-renowned expert on remote leadership and productive company culture. His commentary is featured regularly in leading media outlets such as Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., BBC, NBC and The Telegraph. Dyer is the author of Remote Work: Redesign Processes, Practices and Strategies to Engage a Remote Workforce.

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